4 Essential Soft Skills for Successful Remote Work

4 Essential Soft Skills for Successful Remote Work

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1. Adaptability and Resiliency

"Change can be frightening—particularly when you're pivoting to an entirely new way of working, which may be unfamiliar to you or your team," said Darren Murph, head of remote at all-remote technology company GitLab in San Francisco.  "The key to staying grounded while adjusting to remote work is to look for opportunity 

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1. Adaptability and Resiliency

whenever you instinctively fall into a scarcity mindset. It's important to remember that a remote transition is not a binary switch—it's a journey of iteration. Be open to rolling with the waves, as each day is a chance to learn."

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2. Self-Motivation

Discipline and self-motivation are necessary for remote work. Remote employees need to be proactive and take initiative without being constantly monitored by managers. "GitLab specifically hires those who are 'managers of one,' " Murph said. "Great remote workers thrive with a high degree of autonomy. They relish the freedom to 

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2. Self-Motivation

accomplish goals on their own terms and recharge when it's time to recharge." There will always be distractions when working from home, Prossack said. She recommended at-home workers maintain focus by blocking out visual and audible distractions. "Noise-canceling headphones are fantastic, as is the power of an organized 

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2. Self-Motivation

workspace," she said. "Embrace the fact that there will be interruptions and don't dwell on an interruption when it happens."

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3. Communication

Remote work requires excellent communication. Familiarity with a variety of virtual communication tools like instant messaging and videoconferencing apps is helpful. "When teams work remotely, at least half of all communication is done via writing rather than speaking," Prossack said. "This means communicating through 

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3. Communication

e-mails, Slack, text and using the chat function on video calls." Murph suggested that managers ask their direct reports how they prefer to be communicated with, and how often. "Remember that micromanagement feels different in a remote setting," he said. "Messages hit different when people are sitting in their 

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3. Communication

home, and leaders must be aware that a more empathetic touch should be considered."

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4. Collaboration

Collaboration is easier when employees sit next to their teammates. Once physically disconnected, it's important for team members to stay connected with routine check-ins. "Working remotely doesn't mean working alone," Prossack said. "You're still going to be part of a team, which means working with colleagues on 

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4. Collaboration

projects and tasks. Make use of tools like project management software, shared documents and folders, and dedicated Slack channels where people can easily chat with each other and find information. Get comfortable using these types of applications and working within shared documents."

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